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Virtualization for Database Development


Virtualization for Database Development

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David.Poole
David.Poole
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Forgive my ignorance on the subject but if you have a virtual server instance with the same spec (CPU, RAM etc) as a physical server am I to expect a 20% performance drop?

I can see the benefits of virtual servers for development/integration but how about for a LIVE environment?

If there is a % performance drop for a virtual server is it across the board or does it focus on certain aspects, say CPU?

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Grant Fritchey
Grant Fritchey
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Any performance degredation is not linear. Depending on how you're working with the system, there may be very little degredation at all. In the instances within the article, we were running, not just multiple servers, but multiple sets of servers. This lead to very perceptible performance issues.

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Has anyone experience of using Lab Manager for multi-streamed development with different data recency requirements? That's a stumbling block we're trying to plan for in a planned implementation.

Let's say you have a VM version of production. As I understand it, Lab Manager will then allow developers to build their own fenced environments from that in which they can do independent dev/testing. The storage requirement is small as it only holds the deltas from the base VM image. If a developer encounters a problem in their fence then they can destroy their cloned environment and quickly bring up new ones from the base image. That means the dev teams are working independently and no-one is modifying the base image thereby avoiding polluting that with code which may not work or be deployed. So we can continue to make multiple copies of servers and tear them down when they are no longer required.

The problem comes when one dev team need recent production data on the base image. Perhaps a change has recently been deployed to production (or a new external data feed has started) and the new data is required in dev/test in order to develop new reports or data warehousing ETL work with "real-world" data. If we update the databases on the base image with production data then we will no longer be able to support the existing clones because the base for the delta has gone. So all dev environments have to disappear. Another dev team may be working on a long term project which involves the generation of lots of dev/test data so can't afford to keep losing their environments.

Has anyone experienced these kinds of challenges and come up with a way to overcome them?



Grant Fritchey
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We were going to be dealing with exactly this issue. The plan was for there to be planned integration dates when all the development teams would check in their code and reset their images. At that time, if needed, we could get a new copy of the system from production so that we reflect the latest production code.

Of course, since our entire plan never got off the ground, I can't tell you how that plan worked in practice. If you do figure something out, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

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The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
Theodore Roosevelt

The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server Query Performance Tuning and SQL Server Execution Plans
Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software
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